The US special envoy for Yemen says the relationship between the Houthis and Iran has been mostly a “lethal” one, with the Iranians having encouraged the Houthis to launch attacks.

Timothy Lenderking made the remarks in an interview with Arab News on Sunday in Riyadh, where he arrived as part of a diplomatic push to extend a UN-mediated truce in Yemen into a permanent arrangement.

He said the Islamic Republic has “supported the Houthis in developing their military capability, their UAV capability. And that’s been very negative,” criticizing Iran for fueling rather than tempering the conflict.

Describing the truce as an opportunity for the Houthis to show good faith and good will, he said, “From what we know after talking to Yemenis inside Yemen and around the world, there is no appetite for a return to war. There is no capacity for anybody to wish to see this happen.”

Washington’s point man for Yemen also expressed hope that Tehran’s actions would match its words -- welcoming the truce and backing an extended ceasefire -- by supporting the current positive situation as fuel ships and commercial flights are working again.

The Houthis receive military and political support from Iran in their conflict with other Yemenis, who have been backed by a Saudi-led coalition since 2014. Iran has been sharing its missile and drone technology with Yemen’s Houthis and has also supplied other proxy forces, such as the Lebanese Hezbollah and Iraqi Shiite militias.

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